The Grade

Education in Stamford

When will public get the full picture from last Tuesday’s meeting?

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There was a lot of discussion last Tuesday night about a proposed resolution placed in front of the Board of Education, asking for a vote to continue the Board’s superintendent search. And unless you were one of the roughly 100 people present at the meeting, you have only two ways to fill yourself in: by watching the board video or reading the meeting minutes. But as of this Tuesday night, neither of those options was feasible.

The video, which, according to city ordinance must be “posted on the City website as soon as practicable, but not in any event later than one week following such meeting,” still isn’t online. And the minutes, which were unanimously passed by the Board of Education at tonight’s meeting, do not describe any of the conversations that were had.

It’s hard for me to double-check just how long the conversation about the resolution went on for, without having the video to compare against, but according to my memory and the three pages of notes on my computer, I feel safe in saying it was at least 20 minutes of discussion.

It began with board member Geoff Alswanger making the point that there “in effect was no search,” before member John Leydon and Board President Polly Rauh took the floor for their comments — they both held similar opinions to Alswanger’s. Then came members Lorraine Olson, who trumpeted Hamilton’s accomplishments and qualifications, and Gary Klein, who had said he still wanted to see a national search. At that point, Board Vice President Jerry Pia jumped in and called the search “the most flawed process I’ve ever been involved in,” before handing it off to Jackie Heftman, Julia Wade and Rich Lyons to speak.

But you won’t find any of that in the minutes. Instead, the resolution is typed in, followed by two simple paragraphs:

Board members discussed the pros and cons of continuing the Superintendent Search and voiced their opinions for the way they would be voting on this resolution.

The resolution failed with the following Board members voting in favor: Mr. Alswanger, Mr. Klein, Mr. Leydon, and Dr. Rauh. Opposed: Mrs. Heftman, Mr. Lyons, Ms. Olson, Mr. Pia, and Ms. Wade.

Of the nine separate sets of minutes the Board of Education approved during this Tuesday night’s Regular Board meeting, this seems to be the only set in which such a lengthy topic is summarized so succinctly. In fact, there is more detail provided about a resolution the board voted down earlier this month which would have booted baked goods from the district’s campuses in favor of federal funds:

Screen shot of the minutes for the fiscal committee meeting of the BOE, June 12, 2012

In 10 months or 10 years time, when members of the public attempt to sort through the way in which the district’s first female superintendent was hired, will the city have an accurate record?

Maggie Gordon

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